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4 - Early Cantos I-XLI

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 May 2006

Ira B. Nadel
Affiliation:
University of British Columbia, Vancouver
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Summary

Here begins the great unwieldy poem, all light and mud, to which Ezra Pound devoted much of his life. It was the work of a poet too ambitious, too afraid of being cramped, to work according to a plan. Instead of a plan, Pound devised a strategy for creating a self-scrutinizing text, continually extending itself, ramifying outward, as it groped to comprehend its own prior meanings, to improvise new networks of connection, and to assimilate new material: a text shaped like a developing brain. New Cantos form themselves out of schemes to make sense of old Cantos: so the story of The Cantos comprises two intertwined stories, one concerning Pound's writing of the poem, the other concerning Pound's interpretations of what he had already written.

This twin story begins in 1915, when Pound was thirty years old. He was living in London, writing critical essays and reviews, shaping the modernist movement by propagandizing Eliot and other poets; and he felt that it was time to make a contribution of his own, by composing a grand poem worthy of Homer and Dante. As early as 1909, Pound told his mother that he intended to write an epic; but he was not immediately certain how to proceed.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1999

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  • Early Cantos I-XLI
  • Edited by Ira B. Nadel, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Ezra Pound
  • Online publication: 28 May 2006
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521431174.004
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  • Early Cantos I-XLI
  • Edited by Ira B. Nadel, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Ezra Pound
  • Online publication: 28 May 2006
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521431174.004
Available formats
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Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Early Cantos I-XLI
  • Edited by Ira B. Nadel, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Ezra Pound
  • Online publication: 28 May 2006
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521431174.004
Available formats
×